The 2018 Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) kicked off at Gympie this weekend with Daniel Sanders and Daniel Milner trading fastest times at the two-day event.

Rounds one and two in AORC were spread across Saturday and Sunday and saw Daniel Milner (E3), Daniel Sanders (E2), Luke Styke (E1), Michael Driscoll (EJ) and Jemma Wilson (Women) all quickest on both days in their respective classes.

Returning to the Australian series in 2018, Daniel Sanders was in impressive form having switched during the off-season to Husqvarna.

E3 Class

Daniel Milner of the KTM Enduro Team was the leading man for the E3 class on both days – trading fastest test times with Daniel Sanders in E2 all weekend.

“It’s great to start the year off with a win that’s for sure and pick up where we left off in 2017.” Said Milner said after the first day’s racing.

“It was hard race today and I pushed as hard as I could. The bike was unreal, there’s always areas where we can improve but its hard to complain when we have collected the win. We’ll try to improve the bike for tomorrow and go from there.”

Behind Milner it was a different result across both days with Kane Hall and Andrew Wilksch coming home in second and third, albeit almost five minutes behind.

Things were tighter on day two with Lachlan Stanford running Milner much closer – the two were separated by just 88 seconds at the finish. Broc Grabham went one step better on day two to complete the podium.

 

Daniel Sanders AORC Rnd 1 Enduro21

Photo Credit: JP Media

 

E2 Class

The rider of the day had to go to Daniel Sanders, as he was the fastest on track and in E2 class. ‘Chucky’ had phenomenal speed on day one, but also several falls – though still managed to run out class winner.

“It was a great day today,” said Sanders after day two. “I injured my hand slightly yesterday but we managed to overcome it. We went in with a plan to attack the track as hard as possible and give it all we’ve got. The Husqvarna machine was unreal!”

Josh Green was a close second on both days behind Sanders. The times for these pair on day two were 53:29.353 (Sanders) and 55:06.916 (Green). The final podium place went to Lyndon Snodgrass of the KTM Enduro Team.

 

Luke Styke AORC Rnd1 Enduro21

Photo Credit: JP Media

 

E1 Class

Luke Styke of the Active8 Yamaha Yamalube Team is showing all the signs that his transition to Enduro from Motocross was a strong one. Styke reigned supreme as a back to back winner on both days racing at Gympie.

“Today went really well and I ended up winning my class.” Styke told. “We made a few changes to the bike over the weekend and they were beneficial. I didn’t have much nerves about my first AORC race, I’ve worked super hard over the off-season. The track today was a lot tighter than yesterday but our setup worked so well on Saturday so we maintained it.”

Jack Simpson brought his KTM home in second, separated by just eight seconds on day one and a whopping (by comparison!) 27 seconds on day two. Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team rider, Fraser Higlett completing the podium on day two and would have done on day one also but for getting docked five minutes for deviating on the course.

 

Enduro Junior

Rising star Michael Driscoll and he managed to win by a convincing 76 seconds. The greatest challenger to Driscoll was recent graduate from the Junior classes, Joshua Brierley. The times for these two competitors were 55:54.499 (Driscoll) and 57:10.631 (Brierley). Corey Hammond also maintained his third place finish from day one with an overall time of 58:38.096.

 

JemmaWilsonAORCRnd1 Enduro21 560

Photo Credit: JP Media

 

Women

In a quest for three titles in a row, Jemma Wilson couldn’t have gotten off to a better start and took both day by storm. Wilson had stiff competition from Emelie Karlsson and Jessica Gardiner having a solid weekend’s riding on her return to Australian racing. Gardiner finished second, with Karlsson third on day one but the pair swapped positions on day two.

 

Vets

Ben Grabham has asserted himself as the man to beat in the over 35s veterans class, as he backed up his Saturday win with a Sunday victory on his Beta. Grabham was a step ahead of the field finishing with a time of 1:03:04.481. Richard Chibnall and Jade Gartlan went back and forth on the time sheet throughout Round 2, with Chibnall sneaking it.

 

GrabhamAORC Enduro21 560

Photo Credit: JP Media

 

Masters

Geoff Ballard came out on top in the Masters class, to go along with his second place in round one. Aussie legend Ballard went toe-to-toe with John Baker all weekend, getting the better of Baker by just over seven seconds on day two. Ian Jenner grabbed two third place finishes over the weekend.

The championship heads next to Hedley in Victoria, 5-6 May for Rounds 3 & 4 of the 2018 AORC.

 

E3 Championship Results after two rounds:

1 Luke STYKE 50

2 Jack SIMPSON 44

3 Nicolas TOMLINSON 36

4 Jeremy CARPENTIER 36

5 Fraser HIGLETT 32

6 Tomas RAVENHORST 31

7 Baylee DAVIES 28    

8 Brad HARDAKER 27

9 Peter-Daniel ALLAN 25

10 Andrew JANKE 23

 

E2 Championship Results:

1 Daniel SANDERS 50 

2 Joshua GREEN 44

3 Lyndon SNODGRASS 40

4 Stefan GRANQUIST 36

5 Riley GRAHAM 31

6 Christopher HOLLIS 31

7 Matt MURRY 28

8 Brent DEAN 25

9 Sean HOLMES 25

10 Daniel COLLINS 21

 

E1 Championship Results:

1 Daniel MILNER 50

2 Broc GRABHAM 38

3 Kane Hall 37

4 Andrew WILKSCH 36

5 Lachlan STANFORD 35

6 Thomas MASON 32

7 Jamie ROBINS 29

8 Jesse LAWTON 29

9 Adam GILES 24

10 James SKEHAN 20

 

EJ Championship Results:

1 Michael DRISCOLL 50

2 Joshua BRIERLEY 44

3 Corey HAMMOND 40

4 Harry TEED 32

5 Lachlan ALLAN 32

6 Mitchell BRIERLEY 30

7 Luke ALLAN 27

8 Cooper SHEIDOW 24

9 Ashden GRAMLICK 23

10 Riley NANCARROW 22

 

Womens Championship Results:

1 Jemma WILSON 50

2 Emelie KARLSSON 42

3 Jessica GARDINER 42

4 Sophie COLDICUTT 36

5 Tamara GRAY 30

6 Danielle FOOT 29

7 Ebony NIELSEN 28

8 Emi RUPRECHT 25

9 Tegan HALL 25

10 Avril GILL 22

 

Vets Championship Results:

1 Ben GRABHAM 50

2 Richard CHIBNALL 44

3 Jade GARTLAN 40

4 Peter RUDD 34

5 Steven NEWMAN 30

6 Ryan TEGGART 27

7 Michael BURGESS 27

8 Sean SMITH 25

9 Daniel SAWTELL 23

10 Philip CHILLEMI 18

 

Masters Championship Results:

1 Geoff BALLARD 47

2 John BAKER 47

3 Ian JENNER 38

4 Hamish GUY 38

5 Craig TREASURE 31

6 Michael WIDDISON 29

7 Robert DAY 27

8 Rob MYSTEK 27

9 Gordon MCQUEEN 23

10 Andrew DENNETT 21